All by herself, School of the Holy Child power forward Josie Amerson outscored Horace Mann January 17, netting 27 points to the visiting Lions’ 25.
By Mitch Silver
All by herself, School of the Holy Child power forward Josie Amerson outscored Horace Mann January 17, netting 27 points to the visiting Lions’ 25. Either muscling her way inside or scoring from the perimeter with a delicate touch, Amerson more than made up for the absence of Maggie Welsh, the Gryphons’ starting point guard (and Con Ed Athlete of the Week honoree) who was out with a sprained ankle, as well as stalwart Jaylah DeGout.
Amerson, who grabbed ten boards and six steals in the win, wasn’t alone. Elizabeth Curcio took down 11 rebounds. The DelPriores, Bridget and Dulcie, together added another six boards and three steals. In all, the Gryphons created 24 turnovers out of their 2-3 zone, shifting into a three-quarter-court press halfway through the first half.
Holy Child jumped out to a quick 8-0 lead and it looked like the rout was on. But the Lions from the Bronx pulled it back to 10-6 on the shooting of their diminutive point guard Jennifer Reiss. Reiss would prove to be hard to handle throughout the game, netting 14 points. But she was virtually HM’s entire attack.
Meanwhile, veteran Gryphons Coach Mike Duignan was diagnosing the problem. “We were dribbling east-west and not going north-south. I told the girls to turn up the defensive pressure and when we got the ball, look up the court.” Â
That’s when they went to the press, smothering Reiss and taking the ball away. “Our defense is our bread and butter,” Duignan said.Â “Horace Mann hit those early shots so we went to the press, to give them something to think about.” When Amerson and Co. applied the extra pressure, they reeled off seven straight to lead at the half by nine.
It was more of the same in Act II. Pressuring all the way, Holy Child padded their lead with another eight points. Tyra Cuerton pulled down four rebounds and Julie Kellett added three steals. The effort brought a broad smile to their Coach’s face. “Now that’s what I call teamwork.”
Still, it’s a good thing he had Josie Amerson.
Two days later, Holy Child overcame a 26-13 halftime deficit against Providence’s Lincoln School for a dramatic come-from-behind win. For the second straight game, the Gryphs got a 27-point effort from one of their starters. This time it was Julie Kellett and her three-pointers leading the way.
When Holy Child finally took control of the backboards (the Gryphons pulled down 32 rebounds in all), they pulled away for the surprisingly comfortable win, 48-38.